Monday, 14 September 2009

Q is for...


When I first moved into this building in 2004,  the quartier and the building were pretty quiet - out of the 9 apartments in my building, there was, I believe, one student living in the studio apartment on the ground floor.  Now there are 5 student apartments, with at least 2 students in each one.  And that's just this bâtiment. 

Which leads me to the title of this post... Quiet, or lack thereof.  Because, seriously, I'm about to go spare.  One noisy neighbour, maybe two, and you can cope.  And they usually have their own time-keeping, noise-wise, so you can work around it. But when you have multiple auricular raiders who seem to have worked out a timetable that leaves no minute auditorally un-assaulted... things can get a little...  AAAARGH.

Here, let me show you...

welcome to hell
(ganked from googlemaps, edited by an exhausted fraggle)

My building:
  • Mr and Mrs Loud-Speaker, 1st floor: obviously deaf judging by the level of noise emanating from their sound system.  Quite handy for the removal of dust from the rafters, though.
  • Mademoiselle Poaimon (Player Of All Instruments, Master Of None), 2nd floor:  nice girl, studying literature I think, just not real musician material, sadly.  Enjoys jam sessions with her friends in her flat, complete with keyboards, vocals, bass guitar and an over-excited amp.
  • Miss Saxomophone, recent replacee of Death Metal Boy in the ground floor studio apartment.  Also learning to play the bongos.  I kid you not.
  • The Klaxon Boys in the back flat, ground floor.  Four pre-schoolers (read: 1st year uni students - but they look so yoooouuuuuuuuuuuuuung) who seem to adore shrieking, yelling, shouting and blowing their klaxon horn in the stairwell at 4 in the morning.  Bless 'em.
  • Laughing Girl, 3rd floor above me: not there all the time, and has the BEST infectious laugh ever.  It's just not quite so appreciated when it's a constant through to 3am.
  • Punk Girls, my new neighbours on the 2nd floor.  Likes are: slamming their toilet door shut; inviting many, many people into their poky wee flat; having loud parties that last until 5:30am.  Dislikes are: respecting their neighbours; cooking food that isn't fried or cremated.  (Their kitchen/living-room window is at right angles to my bedroom window in a wee courtyard in the centre of the adjoining buildings.)
And that's just this building...  Looking further afield we have:
  • The Pisser Boys, 1st floor, opposite building: penchant for french rap parties and weeing off their balcony onto the street below.  Gardyloooo...
  • Scratchy Pistol Boy, top floor, opposite building: has an obvious hatred for pigeons, judging by his love of shooting them with his air pistol.  Also an aficionado of the ancient art of 'scratching' records, that 80s Dj-ing phenomenon involving scratching a record back and forth on the turntable and destroying the needle.  Updated for 00s computers and cds, of course.
  • Piano Man, 1st (2nd?) floor in the building to the left: Practises  either jazz or Beethoven all day long - a particular favourite being the Pathetique Sonata.  Is also know for his enjoyment of playing loud and obscure Romantic piano concerti recordings from 7 to 9am.
  • The Party Animals, bottom floor, 2 buildings away to the left: Generous souls who hold open-air parties for the whole neighbourhood, all from the comfort of their own front room and wide-open windows.  They also have a rather disturbing love of Cyndi Lauper.
I didn't put them all in the piccie, because it was just too depressing!

Of course, you can't forget about the students who like to hang around the square with their carry-outs, getting drunk and disorderly and abusing the poor old fire-hydrant, the litter bins, the benches and each other.  The use of tinny mobile-phone musical accompaniment may not be obligatory, but is preferred.

Last night I was kept awake until 4am.  Friday night it was 5:40 before the noise stopped.  Today I put on my big girl pants and went round to complain, receiving embarrassed apologies in return.  No promises of it never happening again, though.  I was also informed that they think my singing is cool.  So cool in fact that it was accompanied by a thumbs-up.  Wow.  It must be cool then, and they weren't just trying to deflect my attention away from my original complaint.

I hope to God that I get some sleep tonight as I'll be leaving here at 9am to get to rehearsals in Blois, because at the moment my throat is scratchy and I have a temperature. 

I think I need the number of some heavies on speed dial!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

P is for...

Palais de Luxembourg

on a crisp november afternoon

Okay, so I'm actually going to cheat a little with this post, as I haven't actually set foot inside the Palais de Luxembourg, which is in Paris, at all.  I did spend two lovely afternoons tramping around the gardens, though, so it's just a little cheat, not an o-my-stars-I'm-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket type cheat, so I'm hoping you'll let me off with a warning only!

The Luxembourg Palace was originally built for Marie de Médicis, mother of Louis XIII in the early 1600s and went through several owners, becoming a museum in the mid 1700s.  During the German occupation the palace became the headquarters for the Luffwaffe and it is now the seat of the French Senate.

cherubs and chrysanthemums - typical autumnal garden fare

I was lucky enough to be staying with a grand family who owned a massive apartment not 5 minutes from the gardens, so I took great pleasure in taking the odd hour or two I had off between rehearsals to wander around the very large parterre jardins and snap away at pretty much everything.  The gardens were formal in places, but away from the palace itself, were more extensively gravel walks between very evenly spaced trees, completed with a smattering of statues. 

The latter didn't really bear too close an inspection as I suspect a lot of them were concrete replicas of statues long ground into dust, but surrounded as they were by metal chairs and general detritis left over from the promenade season, I have to admit that I found them rather endearing!

waiting for the bandstand to come to life again...

The gardens also played host to a variety of pursuits: joggers made use of the outer pathways; the occasional roller-blader and skateboarder weaved and whipped around the sauntering tourists; senior citizens from the surrounding area took part in some tai-chi nearer the water garden (While I wandered around, there were 3 rival groups all contending to be... well, how do you determine the winners?  Contending to be the most gawped at?  The group who has the least amount of fallers?) and more than the odd one or two folk on bicycles leading their dogs for an afternoon stroll dash/drag around the park.

For an inner city garden, it was surprisingly peaceful and it was good to see that there were locals and not just tourists taking advantage of the tranquility. 

the long autumn rays of the setting sun

I must admit that my afternoons in the gardens were enjoyed in my favourite kind of weather - a crisp and cold  sunshiny Autumnal day, with the sun streaming through the trees making long shadows on the fallen leaves. My days around the Luxembourg were deliciously perfect.

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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